So you are thinking about Doula Training? How wonderful!
There are a number of consideration to think about when engaging Doula Training. The first is: Why do you wish to become a Doula? What is your passion? What is your end goal? What is it that you would need to grow in you in order to be present for women? Are you willing to witness life or do you want to be involved in it (are you willing to know the difference)?
Answering these questions will go some way in assisting you to work out what your training needs are.
There are a number of Doula training options in Australia - in-person and on-line. Some include practical work, workshops, self development or are more tailored to external tools and knowledge or even just paper based learning.
Doula Training is about learning to be in service to women. It is about moving out of your own 'stuff' and being able to be fully present for another. It is the deepest holding of self and other, witnessing with great humbleness the emergence of life.
It may be a surprise to learn that Doula work is not about the heat packs and the positions of labour and about knowing how birth 'works'. YEP! In fact no one couple has ever said "I really like the way you use that heat pack!"
The Doula 'mothers the mother'. And given this, it is primarily about relationship. It is about learning to mother yourself first so that you can then mother another - without taking, without rescuing - and seeing her as already capable.
A Doula course that is on-line or is strongly tailored to the practical 'doings' and 'knowings' misses the one key essential element of becoming a Doula: that we learn through relationship and engagement and connection - not simply through ego knowledge. Doula learning is embodied knowing. Ask yourself: 'How will I get that?'
A Doula student must be willing to learn through relationships what she needs to learn in order to grow, transform and finally birth herself as Doula.
A Doula student at the Birth Yurt has the opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
She is supported and challenged around held beliefs, assumptions, her own history and story, her fears and drives and her knowing of woman and birth. The first step in the journey is unlearning all that we already 'know'. For when a Doula knows too much then we are not present and we are not witnessing of the other. We risk being bigger than the mother and birth. A Doula student needs to learn within her self a right relationship between knowing, being and the miracle of life which unfolds on its own terms and independent of us personally.
A Doula must learn her self how to stand in the fire and not shrink back. She needs to learn how to hold the intensity of life without trying to numb it out or make it pretty or more 'bearable' to watch. She needs to learn how to 'not do' in the first instance.
A Doula student must learn to use all of her sensory knowledge and draw on tools and resources from within her, rather than rely on her external tools and environment.
A Doula student must learn the difference between held shame and courageous authenticity - to be who you are right now and that this is enough.
She must learn to 'be' the mirror for the pregnant and labouring mum, and to do this she has been mirrored herself by the Doula Trainer. She allows herself to be seen - she takes off her mask, she is vulnerable, - she too is unfolding during this time and she is held in this way by the trainer.
The Doula student at the Birth Yurt witnesses the work of a professional Doula and is mentored through on-the-job training so that the skills can be utilised and practised. She is mentored so that these skills are refined and strengthened within her.
At the end of the day, the Birth Yurt student knows when she is ready to be born as a Doula. She just does. It does not come from the head, from the ego mind or of 'doing enough births'. It comes from an inner knowing deep within her. It might be still a little nervous and a little afraid and that is a good thing because in that way she agrees to continue life long learning and growth and knows that she will always be transforming through relationship with life and with woman. The knowing is in the belly that 'yes, right now I have travelled the path inwards and I am ready to come out to stand as a Doula and be in service to woman'.
So women! Consider what questions you ask when you are wanting to train as a Doula. What is it that you REALLY want? Who do you want to serve? What are you willing to let go of within you, and grow within you, in order to have it?
For more information about the Birth Yurt Doula Training see The Birth Yurt.
Breathe well, Rachel